Integrating channel evolution into river management: towards a functional decision-support framework

Peter W. Downs*, Philip Soar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Numerous studies have retrospectively reconstructed channel evolutionary trajectories in the recent Anthropocene using multiple historical data sources, but how can evolutionary tendencies be projected forward to build foresight competency into the field of river management? A system of prediction is required that can simulate likely modes of channel morphological evolution to projected changes in environmental forcing conditions over management timeframes (i.e., decades to a century or more), and over distances of multiple kilometres. Such systems require an intermediate focus beyond the usual range of detailed simulation undertaken in multi-dimensional hydraulic modelling, but with a locational and temporal precision greater than achieved in landscape evolution models. Critically, the analysis needs to be directed towards the strategic decision-support needs of the river manager by reformulating technical output data into a format best suited for their needs. We present in-progress research simulating state-transition changes in river morphology over decadal timescales, allowing the potential hazards and assets associated with changing channel morphology to be translated through a decision support graphical ‘dashboard’ that illustrates threshold-based risks related to common issues in river planning, engineering, and restoration and conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
EventI.S. Rivers 4th International Conference: Integrative Sciences and Sustainable Development of Rivers - Lumière Lyon 2 University, Lyon, France
Duration: 4 Jul 20227 Jul 2022


ConferenceI.S. Rivers 4th International Conference
Internet address


  • channel evolution
  • foresight competency
  • graphical dashboard state-transition
  • strategic decision support


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